Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates
Photo: AP
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates

UAE defends decision to normalize Israel ties

Emirati foreign minister tells UN General Assembly that newly signed Abraham Accords will provide the opportunity for Israelis, Palestinians to re-engage in talks; in apparent dig at Iran, Turkey, Al Nahyan accuses regional states of 'expansionist ambitions'

Associated Press |
Published: 09.29.20 , 18:21
The United Arab Emirates has defended its decision to normalize ties with Israel and criticized interference in Arab affairs, an apparent reference to its foes Iran and Turkey.
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  • Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the brother of Abu Dhabi’s powerful crown prince, made the remarks during a recorded speech broadcast Tuesday before the UN General Assembly. Most world leaders have chosen to record their speeches for this year's annual gathering.
    He proclaimed that the UAE’s decision announced in August to formalize ties with Israel froze a controversial Israeli plan to annex territory in the West Bank claimed by Palestinians.
    Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates
    Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates
    (Photo: AP)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, has insisted that plans have only been temporarily suspended.
    “We hope this peace accord will provide the opportunity for the Palestinians and the Israelis to re-engage in negotiations to achieve peace,” Al Nahyan said.
    Palestinians have blasted the deals signed by the UAE and Bahrain with Israel, which were brokered by the United States, as acts of betrayal.
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas used his UN speech on Friday to stress that his government has not given a mandate to anyone to speak or negotiate on behalf of the Palestinian people. Abbas said that the only path for lasting peace is an end to the Israeli occupation and creation of a Palestinian state.
    (Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan speaks in a video address broadcast Tuesday at the UN General Assembly)
    The Emirati foreign minister also warned against what he said were “the expansionist ambitions of some countries in the region.”
    Though he stopped short of naming any countries, the UAE has long accused Iran, Turkey and Qatar of meddling beyond their borders in the affairs of other states.
    The UAE is part of a quartet of Arab states that have boycotted Qatar since 2017, primarily for its backing of Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, which the UAE brands a terrorist group and deems a political and security threat.
    In an apparent dig at Turkey and Iran, Al Nahyan said that tensions in Yemen, Syria, Libya and Iraq are related to “blatant interference in Arab affairs made by states … that have historical delusions of restoring their domination and colonial rule over the Arab region and the Horn of Africa.”
    L-R: Bahrain FM Abdullatif al-Zayani, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, and Emirati FM Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House L-R: Bahrain FM Abdullatif al-Zayani, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, and Emirati FM Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House
    L-R: Bahrain FM Abdullatif Alzayani, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump and Emirati FM Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House
    (Photo: AFP)
    He called on Iran specifically to stop the development of its ballistic missile programs.
    The UAE, a country of about 9 million people with more than 1 million Emirati citizens, is militarily involved in Yemen as a key partner of the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Iran-backed Houthis.
    The UAE also backs a military commander in Libya’s east who is a rival to the allied militias in Tripoli that have backing from Turkey and Qatar.

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